The alarm went off and I laid back down for just a moment. I knew that if I went back to sleep I could wake up late and throw off our timing for picking up dinar and Priya – a girl who asked for a ride on Facebook, and that after checking Google Maps, I offered to do. Before I could debate the comfiness of the bed any longer Sparky was in my face whining for me to take him out.
Caleb woke at 6:19, I blogged for a bit, ate some cereal, and we left the hotel at 8:30 to go to the ATM at Alosra Supermarket. We got lost finding Priya and got to her housing complex at 9:18. We had clear directions and no trouble finding the right gate to Jasra Oasis Compound. I tried knocking on an empty door and Priya asked the lawn guy where the clubhouse is – where a few people, including Ilse the mosaic teacher, already were.
We grabbed our cutouts – a camel, square with mirror, and mosque with mirror – and sat at the end of a table. We started grabbing tiles arranged by color, shape, and shininess from the array of plastic containers covering four tables and putting our selections on plates that we’d been given. We were joined at the fourth seat by Sarah who had come to finish her camel, completing our table, and helping to fill the room with over 20 creatives.
Each spot comes with a pencil for drawing your design, a sharpened chopstick for cleaning up dried grout, a bottle of Elmer’s glue to stick the tiles in place, and a mosaic glass cutter for trimming squares and circles to size. I started glueing tiles down and the order came to me as I went. One hour easily went by, and then another two. The power kept going out taking the cold air and the lights with it. We didn’t mind the latter as the sun shone bright enough outside, but it was the first that made us sweat as we were all bent over our work.
I started to get hungry and lose focus at 1 o’clock until lunch was served at 1:30. It was hard for the ‘chefs’ in the kitchen to cook chicken with multiple power outages, but as soon as lunch was announced I was the first in line. I got a large helping of salad – spiral noodles, carrots, bell peppers, pomegranate, olives, etc. and some garlic bread. I went back for seconds and there was enough for me to have thirds, but I was full. Caleb got chicken thrown on his plate, so he ate it.
Caleb was finishing tile placement at 3:30 while I was maybe halfway done. Four people were left glueing tiles while the others started to smear grout. I finished an hour later and laid my brown grout all over my uneven surface. We were given the option of brown, white, or black – whichever we thought would go best with the tiles we chose. I took mine outside to dry and then took a moist sponge to the surface, just enough to see the top of the tiles, but not too much to take grout away from in-between.
I came in to fine tune my camel with my sharpened stick and noticed it was 5:30. It was time for Caleb to pay so we could take Priya home. She made the Taj Mahal with her daughter’s name, Lolly, on it and a drink coaster. If you were a quick artist, Ilse would let you make the smaller object for free, as not everyone chooses the difficult route I did of making a large image and choosing not to make a border first. This makes it more difficult to finish when having to cut all the tiny pieces to fit the edge, but I didn’t want mine to look like all the others. And mine is definitely the odd camel out.
Caleb added the numbers 5377 to his mosaic to represent his wife’s name, the same digits that appear on his right hand. He did an excellent job and I claimed it as a birthday gift, even if it is a month early, like Sparky was seven years ago. Caleb paid the 50 dinars, price for both of us for supplies and lunch, and then we wrapped our creations in pink plastic to protect them and our rental car.
We got lost taking Priya home and happened by a demonstration. She lives in a black flag area. I didn’t have time to take a picture of the fifty men in black, let alone a second glance, as the guy behind me honked his horn. We had been redirected down a street with a don’t enter sign. Made a turn on the last street to her house and a kid with a bag full of trash on his way to the dumpster almost ran into the front of the car. I’m glad his brakes worked faster than mine. We all had our hearts in our throats.
She asked us to drop her off in the back closer to her house and past the dogs that are let out at night that bark at people. I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to have to walk by their vicious faces either, even if the chain is set to a perfect length. She thanks us for the ride that her husband couldn’t give her since he was at work and tells me to keep in touch. She had a lovely time and looks forward to more lost adventures in Bahrain with me – I agree.
We went to Il Capo for pizza at 6:30, ordered two – veggie and Margherita, and some fried garlic bread that is absolutely delicious. We waited in the car while they got our order ready. Caleb thought it would be a great idea to start laundry after we got home late instead of letting it wash all day while we were out. We watched some TV until he felt sleepy, and then I stayed up for the next 2 to 3 hours cleaning my camel waiting for the machines ‘done’ alarm to sound so I could hang his things in hopes they would be dry when we woke in the morning. He has duty tomorrow and needs what few clothes we brought. I can take a nap when I get tired.